Sex shops and bondage magazines: what the download generation are missing

Posted in commentary on Monday, 27th September 2021

Scan of the inside of a bondage magazine showing a young woman tied up by train tracks

There are times I lament the easy access to porn. Our phones and laptops give us instant gratification to all our fantasies in the privacy of our homes or bedrooms. There’s no effort involved, no sense of achievement. No investment in our sexuality.

Like many of my generation, my earliest memories of porn are buying top-shelf magazines from a local newsagent. As I examined what was on offer, I hoped they wouldn’t recognise me, or ask my age. There was a thrill to the dare that infused the cheesy poses of women in stockings and suspenders with its excitement.

Revenge of the Molested Subway Girl

Moriko rides the Tokyo Metro at night, hoping to find strangers who'll molest her. When she encounters a Salaryman from the suburbs, she starts a chain of events that leads to revenge.

Available on Kindle

Enter the sex shop

A little later came the sex shop. I had to drive for an hour each way, planning trips to coincide with weekday holidays when the streets would be quieter. Sometimes I’d pass the shop three or four times, heart pounding in my ears as I summoned the courage to step inside.

Scan from inside a magazine showing a young woman with red hair in bondage
Darla Crane by Kristine Imboch. Echoes of Harmony’s “love bondage” philosophy can be found in my photography.

Beyond that darkened door were treats unimaginable. Magazines covering every fetish and fantasy my young mind could dream up, and plenty I couldn’t. Sometimes the content was so “extreme” small stickers were placed on photographs to hide acts deemed “obscene”. They’re commonplace on today’s websites.

Bondage discovered

Then came the fateful day I discovered “bondage”. I’d seen pictures of women in handcuffs and tied with rope, but they were always passing shots. This was different.

It wasn’t Google or PornHub who introduced me to bondage. It was the owner of a sex shop I’d gone to a couple of times. He asked if I wanted something “a bit harder.”

Scan from inside a bondage magazine showing four images of a young woman in a rubber suit being tied up
Sarah Foster-Tate by Atreus. Some of the first images I saw combining latex and bondage.

I can’t remember the title, just that it blew me away. Endless pictures of women tied up. Not supermodels, but women I might meet on the street. My fixation with Samantha Fox and the “Page 3 Girls” gave way to Sarah Foster-Tate, Sharon Beacon, Darla Crane and the many others Harmony Concepts offered in their pages. To this day when I play bondage games, Harmony’s ideal of “Love Bondage” is rarely far from my mind.

Leading up to the internet explosion

My exploration was gradual. Fantasies evolved steadily as my collection expanded. Each bought in person, acquired after asking if they had something on the shelves (or not, as the case might be). Each had that thrill of waiting for the crowds to clear before ducking into a sex shop ingrained in its paper pages. Money changed hands. Real paper money with pictures of the Queen smiling approvingly as I handed them over.

By the time I got my first internet connection, I had over two dozen magazines. Compare that to the thousands, tens of thousands, of photos and videos in the typical digital collection. All saved with a right click and shuffled onto backup drives, never to be seen again.

Our youth are missing out

Maybe we should compel our youth to buy porn the way we did, at least for a couple of years. Let them experience the limits and excitement of venturing into a sex shop. Of having to interact with someone as they hand over cash. Make them feel their purchase. Re-establish the connection between the physical world and our fantasy one. Savour the few pages of porn they can afford each month.

Photograph of a young blonde woman in a blue spandex catsuit tied up on a bed
Fiona by Razz. My work is influenced by early bondage magazines.

Of course, this is just an old pervert wallowing in nostalgia. The world has moved on, and we must move with it. Easy access to porn has been liberating for many, though not without its problems. The waves of conservative clamp downs are doing little to repress an innate desire to explore our sexuality and fantasies.

Yet I can’t help feeling those who’ve only downloaded their porn have missed out on something special. By the time they realise it too, I fear it will be too late.

White Cuckold to a Black Mistress

Can slave mike endure being cuckold to Ebony Goddess Gabbi?

Available on Kindle

Mostly dominant with a love of BDSM and fetishism. This blog is an outlet, so don't take anything you see or read too seriously.

Follow me: twitter, fetlife, amazon, smashwords or deviantArt

Recent Posts

Photograph of a woman in a red and black latex catsuit standing in a field

A latex shoot from years ago

Black and white photograph of a woman with her hands tied behind her back in rope and wearing a spandex catsuit or unitard

Bondage with Freya

Photograph of a man in a loose latex rubber suit and gas mask

Loose rubber

Scenes from An American Horror Story Rubber (Wo)man

American Horror Story: appropriation of the fetish culture?